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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

House Vote on Conference Committee for Policy Bill Hits Snag

  • June 25, 2015
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A House vote on a motion to request a conference committee for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill was postponed Wednesday to give the Senate time to remove language that runs afoul of a constitutional requirement that legislation affecting revenue must originate in the House. The offending language is included in a portion of the Senate bill that alters the military retirement system, John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CQ Roll Call. McCain expressed confidence he could get obtain unanimous consent on the Senate floor on Thursday to remove the provisions. At this point, it doesn’t appear the snafu should slow down both chambers’ intent to reach agreement on a compromise measure quickly. McCain, along with House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), recently have expressed confidence that lawmakers could produce a conference report by sometime in July …

Army, Air Force Not Currently Planning to Bypass BRAC

  • June 24, 2015
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Despite threats from the Obama administration to resort to alternative options if Congress fails to approve its request for a new BRAC round, the Air Force and Army have no immediate plans to rely on a rarely used authority to close or realign bases outside of a BRAC round, installation officials said Tuesday at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. Before taking a step to use 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2687, the Air Force would wait for direction from the Defense Department, said Col. Jonathan Webb, director of Air Force Installations Planning. It wouldn’t be prudent to sidestep the BRAC process, Webb said …

BRAC Round Inevitable, Experts Say

  • June 23, 2015
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Congress is likely to approve a new round of base closures within five years, as BRAC is not the political third rail it’s frequently described as, Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Monday at the opening general session of the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. While lawmakers are naturally disinclined against authorizing the Pentagon to close additional installations, the consequences of DOD’s worsening budget situation should help persuade Congress that a BRAC round is needed, Eaglen told more than 500 Summit attendees. The Budget Control Act caps have resulted in deteriorating readiness levels for the military, an indication of less frequent training and lower spending on facility maintenance, she explained …

McCain Pledges Speedy Conference Agreement on Policy Bill

  • June 19, 2015
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A House-Senate compromise on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill could be wrapped up in a matter of weeks, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday shortly after the Senate passed its version of the annual policy bill. “I am totally convinced we can get the bill back out of conference in July, and probably early July,” McCain said. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of House Armed Services, has made similar comments indicating a quick timeline to reconciling the two chamber’s versions is likely. “There are not significant differences,” McCain said, reported CQ. “Our reforms go quite a bit further than those in the House bill, but I have a very close working relationship with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and I’m confident we can resolve those differences and resolve them quickly …

Senate Approves Authorization Bill Early

  • June 19, 2015
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The Senate on Thursday passed a defense authorization bill for the first time in three years, an achievement that should pave the way for Congress to reach agreement on a compromise measure well before the new fiscal year. The Senate’s failure to pass the annual policy bill in each of the two previous years prevented the House and Senate from convening a formal conference committee to hash out a final version of the legislation. Instead, the chairmen and ranking members of the two Armed Services panels held informal talks to reach a compromise. “This is how the Senate should operate — regular order, on time, giving our military the certainty they need to plan and execute their missions,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain …

Senate Removes Commissary Privatization Program from Defense Bill

  • June 18, 2015
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The Senate on Wednesday stripped from the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill language directing the Defense Department to privatize up to five commissaries through a two-year pilot program. Lawmakers also passed a second procedural vote to end debate on the annual policy bill, setting up a final vote for passage which likely will take place Thursday. The 84-14 vote also signaled the Democrats’ decision not to filibuster the authorization bill over its reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps. Instead, Senate Democrats will resume that fight over the defense spending bill. The party is expected to block a vote, which could come today, to debate the spending measure in the Senate …

Senate Could Finish Work This Week on Authorization Bill

  • June 17, 2015
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The Senate could move to a final vote on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill before the end of the week, after the chamber on Tuesday voted to end debate on the measure. Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters, “I’m very, very guardedly optimistic that we’ll get it done by Thursday,” reported the Hill. The chamber’s debate over the annual policy bill, S. 1376, has been slowed by a dispute over amendments, but lawmakers took up three on Tuesday …

Senate Bill Would Allow Favorable Lease Terms to Local Schools

  • June 17, 2015
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Local school systems would be able to lease property at military installations for less than fair market value, under a provision in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill now under debate in the Senate. The bill would amend 10 U.S.C. Section 2667 — the federal statute authorizing the enhanced use leasing program — to allow the military services to lease non-excess property for less than fair market value to a local education agency, or to an elementary or secondary school. The change is intended to help school systems that support military families, according to the committee report accompanying the legislation. The bill text, S. 1376, and committee report, S. Rpt. 114-49, are available on

Pilot to Privatize Commissaries Should Be Postponed, Inhofe Says

  • June 16, 2015
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A proposal to privatize five commissaries under a two-year pilot program should be stripped from the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, according to a commentary by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) published in Military Times. Congress should complete an evaluation of the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores before launching a pilot program, writes Inhofe, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. “Privatizing military commissaries before conducting an assessment of the costs and benefits of such significant reform is irresponsible,” he states. “I want to know the cost and savings as well as the risks and benefits associated with privatization before any action is taken,” Inhofe says …

Limited Debate to Resume in Senate on Authorization Bill

  • June 14, 2015
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Senate debate on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill is expected to continue Tuesday after little movement last week and votes on only a handful of amendments. On Thursday, Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters the bill was now “unstuck” and he hoped the Senate would debate a number of amendments before moving to final passage. Lawmakers eventually agreed to hold votes on two amendments tomorrow. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed a procedural motion Thursday to allow him to cut off debate on the annual defense policy measure, S. 1376; that vote is expected Tuesday, reported the Hill. Democrats earlier blocked a move by McConnell to attach a cybersecurity bill to the underlying measure.

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